Natalie, Gunter and Grace
The Haug Family (Norma, the mom, Gunter, 9, and twins Natalie and
Grace, 6 1/2) started coming to The Center in 2006. Norma’s husband
Paul died in October 2005. Here is their story:
For Norma, the first time the family came to The Center it seemed
“just another thing I had to do at the time. Even the title is hard. You
don’t want to see your kids as grieving children, but that’s what they
are.” But “as time went on, the space, the people …I could just relax.
You’re amongst people that know. There are no pretenses. You share
intimate details – pretty horrific stuff – and there is a sense of safety
and healing here.”
“The Center has made a huge difference in our family. We’re really
just beginning to reap those benefits now. People comment how we’re
different – lighter. It just helped us get through the process. Grief is a
lot of work – physically, emotionally, mentally – and on top of that,
you have to do your life. It’s very difficult.”
“It’s sort of like an extended family here for all of us. You just hang
out and share and hug and connect. We’ve come a long way. We
Norma’s kids loved The Center right away. Gunter, 9, shares that
“Ever since I have been coming to The Center, I thought that this place
has stopped me about thinking bad things about my dad and that
he’s dead. And about my grandparents and my cats that are dead. I
thought at first everyone would be very mean. Everyone turned out
to be very nice. I really like coming here and I hope I keep coming
until I’m in the ‘big group’”.
Natalie, 6 ½, commented: “The stuff that really helps me is that there’s
a pile of animals in our class and you just jump in it and if you’re sad
or mad, it just pops away. Or, in the Volcano Room you get some
punching gloves and if you’re sad or mad, it just pops away.”
And Grace, also 6 ½, told us: “The Center has made me feel better
since the last time I came here. When I come here, it takes away some
of the sadness.”
The Center for Grieving Children’s mission is to
provide loving support to grieving children, teens,
families, and the community through peer support,
outreach, and education. We honor and encourage
the safe expression of grief and loss.
We provide a loving community to foster the
discovery and development of each child’s own
resiliency and emotional well-being.
Bereavement Peer Support
Weekly peer support groups for children, ages
3-18, their parents or primary caregivers, and
young adults ages 19-30, who have experienced
the death of a family member or friend. We also
offer support groups for bereaved parents and
for young widows and widowers and others
who have lost a partner to death.
Tender Living Care
Weekly peer support groups for children, their
ill parent, their care giving parent, young adults,
ages 19-30, who are experiencing serious illness
in their family, from the point of diagnosis.
A program in collaboration with local schools
to provide refugee and immigrant children who
have relocated to Portland a place to process their
grief and traumatic loss.
Community Outreach & Education
Education, crisis response, and training
for schools, agencies, workplaces, and the
community on how to support children and
teens experiencing loss.
555 Forest Avenue
P.O. Box 1438
Portland ME 04104